It’s Real-Time Open Delivery – Serious Business

January 20, 2010

in Knowledge Innovation, Networks, Knowledge and Social Media

Jon Husband pointed me to “The Moment Social Media Became Serious Business” in HBR. Part of sharing with him my previous post on why #socialbusiness is nothing new. The article and the reading of it provided more clarity for me.

Here’s the deal. #SOCIALBUSINESS  is dead in the water because it is not the problem or the opportunity. I’m going to make a quick case to say I don’t think it is social media either. What organizations should prepare for….

Real-Time Open Delivery

Now what do I mean by that? Let’s look at an example, one economically similar to those referred to in the HBR article(which unfortunately ends up with the idea that social media will change organizations). That in my view simply isn’t a foregone conclusion.

Example: Imagine for a moment that all customer complaints were filed using Twitter. Yes the tweets are delivered in real-time and we call this a social media channel. Yet the real fact is… all complainers make all their complaints public. The tweets are delivered to the organization and it’s competitors in real-time. The organization doesn’t have days or even hours to respond. In fact a day will come when competitors might just nab these customers and fix it for them. In fact we had a similar argument with Phweet… making telephone calls public or as visible as an email cc. It saves time in business just like other newer collaboration tools do.

Where Jon’s pointer helped and a conversation with him added perspective was competitive advantage will only come when an organization knows how to lead and respond to and in a real-time open delivery environment. This is the real focal issue. Yet these are not new drivers — toward transparency, open source, lower costs of communications etc.. are well known. So listening is not going to be the strategy. Neither is putting people through social business training. What matters is whether or not you have a strategy for real-time public information exchanges where the customers are more powerful and they can gather information more rapidly than you can. Concurrently, do you have a strategy where you can turn such public exchanges to competitive advantage. A more hidden example would be what API’s can you provide to your own information assets. API’s in this case aren’t social business.. however it may be smart business.

But by summer, the conversations I was having with senior executives about the use of these new technologies took on a very different tone. Recognition grew that 2.0 technologies could be used to change the way work gets done in fundamental ways. Interest in exploring these new ways of working, of sharing information, of collaborating to enhance productivity and meet business goals, was here.

Advances in our ability to communicate always change the way we live and work — the two are inextricably linked.

a little later in the piece…

But each time our communication capability expands, several predictable things occur: An increase in the scope (distance and speed of reach) and richness of our interactions affects the way we organize, shifts the balance of power, and influences how we get things done.

via The Moment Social Media Became Serious Business – Tammy Erickson – Harvard Business Review.

Fact is… what will give you more power and protection as an individual? Going public with more of your agreements with organizations. Today even the threat of a Tweet can be powerful. Tomorrow everyone will understand the advantage.

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